PUNE (TIP): NCP chief Sharad Pawar said on October 3 he holds no grouse against Congress president Sonia Gandhi as she was not responsible for breaking the 15-year-old Congress-NCP alliance in Maharashtra. Putting the blame on outgoing chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, he indicated that his party will pose difficulties for his election bid from the Karad South constituency.

“I found (Sonia) undoubtedly positive about continuing the alliance. I have not even uttered the name of Rahul (Gandhi) in this regard,” he said to journalists’ questions. He was addressing a press conference ahead of NCP’s convention in Pune. NCP has withdrawn its candidate from Karad South, but party workers say they will support sitting Congress MLA Vilasrao Patil-Undalkar, who is contesting as an independent. Pawar said, “I felt my party should not contest against the (former) CM. Undalkar has requested our support. A decision will be taken at the local level.”

The NCP chief ruled out joining hands with BJP to form government. “We have been hearing these rumours since 1999… Our target is very clear. We want a clear majority in the state,” he said. He said the new generation of politicians had no communication between them. “I had a good personal rapport with Bal Thackeray. But today, I have no communication with the current generation of Thackerays. There is a generation gap.”

On irrigation schemes, he said some people were creating a false impression about them in the state. “The state government had to go ahead with the projects to claim its right over water. Project cost increases if there are delays,” said the NCP president.

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